Your Connection to Canada’s Volunteering Community

How do we recognize volunteering in 2017?

Apr 12, 2017

Volunteer Canada and Investors Group release groundbreaking volunteer recognition study in advance of National Volunteer Week

OTTAWA, ON, April 12, 2017 – Alarm bells sounded when the findings of the General Social Survey: Giving, volunteering and participating (2013) revealed a drop in volunteering among Canadians from 47% of Canadians in 2010 to 44% in 2013. Was this a minor blip or the beginning of a concerning downward trend? Have Canadians become less giving or are we simply giving time in new and different ways?

In order to answer these questions, Volunteer Canada and Investors Group engaged Ipsos Public Affairs to conduct an opinion poll, to examine Canadians’ perceptions and attitudes on volunteering. The results revealed that community involvement is increasingly varied and diverse, and may not always fall into the traditional definition of volunteering.

“As the nature of volunteering evolves, our definition and recognition of the term must adapt,” explains Paula Speevak, President and CEO, Volunteer Canada. “For example, buying fair trade coffee in the morning or organizing a carpool puts your personal values into action. Is this volunteering?”

From the research emerged the notion of Individual Social Responsibility (ISR), a concept that may disrupt the traditional definition of volunteering but also offers a more inclusive and progressive way to frame volunteering and community engagement.

“As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary and the diversity that strengthens us as a nation, recognizing ISR as a contributor to community building is key. During National Volunteer Week, Volunteer Canada and Investors Group urge Canadians to recognize and thank all volunteers, both formal and informal,” says Trevor Krahn, Director of Community Investment, Investors Group.

So, what does ISR mean for organizations?
Non-profits can better understand what drives Canadians’ community engagement motivations. Acknowledging ISR can also help businesses to grow their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. As the definition of volunteering evolves, organizations can celebrate all Canadians who make a difference in their communities.

To read the full report of Recognizing Volunteering in 2017 visit


Laura Allardyce, Manager of Communications and Marketing / 613-231-4371 ext. 245

April 23 to 29 is National Volunteer Week. It is also the 14th consecutive year that Volunteer Canada delivers the National Volunteer Week (NVW) campaign in partnership with Investors Group. Visit